Hamer was founded in Wilmette, Illinois USA, by Paul Hamer, Jol Dantzig, James Walker and John Montgomery.
The firm initially specialised in high-spec eye candy based on Gibson’s Flying V (the Vector) and Explorer (the Standard) models. The first Hamer production model, the Sunburst, landed in 1977 and instruments found their way into the clutches of the likes of KISS, Bad Company, Aerosmith, Def Leppard and numerous others of the rock elite. Its biggest ambassadors, however, were Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick, with his checkerboard-finish and multi-necked models, and Billy Idol’s sideman, Steve Stevens.
Long story even longer, Hamer was sold to KMC Music (aka Kaman USA), the company behind Ovation guitars, in 1988. It introduced a range of budget import Hamer XT and Slammer models before Kaman and its brands were in turn purchased by Fender in 2008. Now estranged from Fender, KMC resurrected the Hamer brand with six models, and built in Asia.
While all that ‘This Is Your Life’ stuff above might make for perfect bedtime reading, there’s one question we all want answered: is this Hamer reboot worthy of that illustrious headstock logo?
Well, there’s no mistaking those classic good looks – certainly inspired by the classic lines of a Les Paul Junior double cutaway.
Following its original Gibson guidelines, it’s no surprise that the Hamer features a mahogany back with a maple top. The mahogany neck comes with a Gibson-style 629mm (24.75-inch) scale length, a 42mm wide nut, a flattish 400mm (15.75-inch) radius fingerboard and 22 medium jumbo frets.
The XT is brandishing a pair of humbuckers that are each wired through a volume knob, a shared master tone and your classic three-way pickup selector toggle switch. The bridge is the classic tune-o-matic with stopbar tailpiece.
The Hamer XT model sports a medium C shape that reminds us of the PRS ‘Wide Fat’ feel. Combined with the big frets, shredder-friendly fingerboard radius and the low action, this is one of the most comfortable guitars to play you’ll find anywhere. Upper fret access is excellent too - just look how deep those cutaways are.
Plugging in, the XT reveals an impressive level of sustain. As you would expect from the mahogany and maple construction, this guitar offers classic rock tones. The bridge unit is bright and punchy, while the neck pickup is warm and jazzy. There are no real surprises here. You get all the sounds you want and expect from this style of guitar. That said, you can spend a lot of time in the middle position. The balance of light and dark is perfect for slightly overdriven Stones riffs and funky rockabilly and country licks.
This guitar is in excellent condition. It has been played at home only and has been well looked after. There are no dings, dents scratches or other issues with this one. Just a straight up, well built, good sounding electric guitar. You’re getting some tasty tonewood for your money, and the build quality and playability is as good or better than anything you’ll find at this price level.
If you’re looking for a twin-humbucker classic-style solidbody at a super affordable price, this Hamer XT should be on your radar.
Comes in its Hamer gig bag in good condition.